Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Stop the presses! Must the free media really publish everything, even if it would lead to murder?

Let me not just talk principles here, because that would make it very abstract and pretty incomprehensible. Rather, let’s look at some actual reports (mostly from the last 24 hours) that may illustrate what kind of reporting I suggest that must be banned.

Barghouti urges Palestinian ‘civil disobedience’ on Nakba Day Why publish his message? People like President Trump won the election without paying for ads because the Free Press spread his propaganda. He only had to make it said offensive, and it spread like wildfire.

Osama bin Laden’s son calls for attacks on Jewish targets Why not just say that he made anti-Jewish remarks? There were even headlines that read that he calls upon lone wolfs to …. [I took out the incitement].

Rebuffing Netanyahu, Jordan says it opposes terrorism but still condemns killing of its Jerusalem stabber. Why publicize voices that approve of violence against Jews?

Also, it is unnecessary to write that the assailant tried to stab or actually stabbed the policeman. It’s enough to say that he tried to hurt a police officer and was killed. (Freedom of the Press does not demand publishing a manual how to kill people.) His name does not need to be made public either – what, to glorify the murderer? News outlets and individuals who do, should be taken off the air.

Statements that may invite copycat attacks, that make the threshold lower for another attack, that call for revenge or to perpetrate violence should not be published, period.

Dutch back Muslims as far-right MP vows to close mosques should only have reported that he made remarks antagonistic to Muslims in general.

Rabbi Levinstein going on leave from Eli academy has an OK heading but should just have mentioned that he keeps saying things that are insulting to homosexuals and women – not the actual bigotry word-for-word. Why do the spreading of filthy ideas for him?

German army punishes second soldier for far-right comments rightly so doesn’t state the verbal abuse, also inside the article, beyond a vague “racist attitudes, bullying and sexual abuse.” However, the report still goes wrong, in my opinion, when it quotes a certain group, supporting Arab Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel, calling them a legitimate form of “resistance.” It should just have mentioned that it fails to condemn anti-Israel terrorists.

Nonsense can be dangerous too. Like in this headline: Feelings are More Important Than Facts. This is baloney. Anger is not more important that the idea that one may not take the law into one’s own hands. To write something like this should be a criminal offense.

And maybe even this: Israel won’t commit suicide over US Embassy move, top lawmaker says should not be spread, because it does damage to Israel’s negotiating position with no none profiting. (Never mind that the leaking MK wants to warn the right-wing backers that they should not be upset if Netanyahu gave in here, so that a storm about it will be now and not during President Trump’s visit. It still undercuts the ability by the Israeli government to say to the US: don’t relent on moving your embassy because we don’t know if our administration would survive such a non-move.)

Similarly, we would like to tell our friends: Today I stopped someone telling a racist “joke.” You don’t want to add the “joke” to that.

Objections

  • I can imagine the objection: The Press should be Free.

But there are already restrictions in place for stuff that the sensor suspects a danger to national of local security.

There are other constraints, sometimes court-ordered and sometimes voluntarily self-imposed by news outlets, like withholding names of survivors of sexual crimes.

  • I can imagine the objection: Then who decides what is published and what not? It’s a slippery slope.

No, it isn’t. Racist parties are excluded in Israeli elections. That’s not a slippery slope.

  • I can imagine the objection: But most “news” is transmitted through social media, from the Twitter account of the US President all the way down to Instagram posts by teenagers.

That must be stopped too. Social media should block the dirt, even if it comes from the top. BTW: “Journalist are the people’s worst enemy” should have been reported as: The President found it necessary to say something improper about the press.

  • I can imagine the objection: How can you lay upon everyone and journalists in particular to stop spreading the above – who has experience, know-how, time and smartness enough to distinguish these things?

Well, when it comes to copyright or slander issues, journalists and news outlets are very careful, because it could cost them their jobs and millions of dollars. So can they be sensitive and sensible about the above too. (It could be, that first laws must be instated saying the above, to “motivate” them.) Everyone should be free to publish diatribes against such bills, but they should become law anyway.

NB: I’m NOT saying that critical news should be banned. Negative reporting is needed and very important to reign in scandals that in silence thrive – the more details the merrier.

But someone who is a danger to society, like a serial killer, is not let loose. This does not “infringe on his freedom,” because there is no freedom to murder.

Similarly, a call to be violent does not fall under freedom of speech. Rather, it is an attack on the free society, just like a racist candidate does not deserve to sit in parliament or government, or to spread his racist ideas.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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